Speed Up Your Site & Disable Cloudflare

My apologies for the sensationalist title, but there is a problem with Cloudflare that is not being reported on tech blogs, or their status page. My intention of this post is to simply get the word out to other developers. Enabling the cloudflare proxy can cause severe delay in response times. experienced similar problems, way back in October of 2010:

I get 20 ms ping from my home and sub 10 ms from work, when the name servers run directly. After the switch-over to CloudFlare, I started getting ping in the range of 260ms – 300ms, they were unstable and over ten times my normal ping.

With Cloudflare proxy enabled I saw the occasional bad response time with FantasySP and thought nothing of it.  Over time, response times seem to have continued to drop.  Now it’s gotten so bad that Ajax POST requests would take up to 1 minute to respond.

I began getting complaints from my users.  I figured it was something on my end.  Maybe my host was having issues? Is my caching having issues?  I spent a day trying to track down the problem. Every other server monitoring metric suggested that they should be just fine.

It turns out the culprit was Cloudflare.  Once it was disabled, pages no longer took 100ms+ to connect.  Ajax requests no longer hung for up to one minute.

The issue with Cloudflare is worth mentioning.  There is a chance Cloudflare is slowing down your site and you don’t even know it, especially your WordPress Dashboard.

My advice to Cloudflare users is to disable the orange cloud and test out your site for a day or so.  Did response times improve?  If they got worse, simply re-enable Cloudflare.  (Keep in mind disabling the Cloudflare Proxy takes about 10 to 20 minutes to go into effect, so look in the Header Requests for “Server” and wait until “cloudflare-nginx” is gone.)

I hope Cloudflare fixes their issues because I will be the first one to jump back on the bandwagon.  Do they serve too many users?  Do they realize their service has degraded over time?  Perhaps there was a problem from the start, and I didn’t even notice it?

I have an open support ticket with Cloudflare and will update this post with anything worth noting.  So far they have acknowledged some type of problem and are looking into it.

If you have experienced similar issues, let me know.

13 replies on “Speed Up Your Site & Disable Cloudflare”

I switched over to CloudFlare a few hours ago, so your post was worrying. I’ve also seen a couple other blogs mention a drop off in search traffic. My first impression is that IP blocking is broken, as IP ranges that I used to block at the firewall are now getting through CloudFlare despite their blocking interface. (Despite waiting a few hours) A bit disconcerting.

We have tested it for two weeks with user from around the world and to keep it short Very Disappointing. Not just the speed of your site decreases, ips are being blocked that should not and the very poorly executed customer service. I usually do not write comments but thought a warning is needed. 

I just tested you site with pingdom tools to see how lean your theme was and I noticed that you are using cloudflare again? I am seeing issues like you mentioned in the post, have you found a solution?

My site also slowed down, some images were absent.. Self-Defaced site.. What’s even worse, when I switched back to my old DNS, my site stopped opening with my provider, although 24 h have passed, now I don’t know how to fix this!

I’m in Moscow.

I made a huge mistake. I was in the middle of a Huge Product Launch and our sites were getting quite a high amount of traffic. After reading glowing “reviews” from several TechBlogs, I activated cloudflare and that was it, Site loaded poorly, images missing, several Ajax and JS files loading slowly or not at all.

And then the worst part, we disabled it, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday our site was down. Lots of unhappy clients, big loss for us.

Maybe I didn’t do something right? Don’t you just click the glowing cloud till it turns grey to turn this thing off?

I’m sticking to W3cache.

I’m not surprised to hear the site load slowly, especially ajax. Though I am surprised to hear that images and/or javascript did not load at all.

Once its disabled the site just goes back to the way it was before. If it was during high traffic, then perhaps disabling it overwhemeld the server. Clicking the orange cloud and changing it to gray is all that it takes.

Also, it appears cloudflare is getting worse. I am not sure what it’s like for a Business Account.

There is one instance where using cloudflare will work great. When you want to cache everything (HTML/CSS/JS, etc). Otherwise its a crapshoot.

Hi All

Just moved my site into CloudFlare and your post worry a bit but
as far as I can see, I try to compare the Spanish version (still using
direct DNS from my server and has the exact config) with the one I move into CloudFlare and I can notice
a gain of about 2.5s speed

You can maybe try it by yourself using webpagetest or google pagespeed.

Anyhow, I will wait for some days to see what going on.



I will say thanks to BRANT..
Though i host my domain on 000webhost and was thinking that the damn is the free hosting server. as son as soon as i disabled cloudfare, within 10 minutes the performance get better..
any other cache service recommnedations.. ??

I don’t know what all the hype is about CloudFlare. I have had nothing but issues since enabling it on sites I manage on different hosting providers, Media Temple and Hostmonster. Slow performance, images not loading, ajax slow to respond, browser stall etc. etc. Apparently Google doesn’t like CloudFlare either as site traffic pretty much took a dive as a result of indexing being removed. Once CloudFlare was disabled and no longer running, sites are fast to load, no hangs, and normal traffic is back up and everything and everyone is happy again. My advice, anything FREE is not worth using if they offer a paid version along with it.

I know this post is fairly old at this point. I just wanted to add my two cents. I tested out CloudFlare very much in depth including the SSL offerings. It was actually a few hundred milliseconds slower and reeked havoc with multiple redirects for https/http all the time. I finally disabled it. i honestly think it is a great concept but it just isn’t needed for small businesses, small blogs, etc. I think that is why the initial offering is free is to help get the word out there and to build up the brand on the $200 per month service for larger sites. I thoroughly tested it on several domains for weeks and it just wasn’t worth it. Also setup is a huge PAIN IN THE A** if you know what I mean. Just buy a $40 pe year certificate if you want the benefits of SSL for SEO purposes. CF just isn’t worth the hassle in my opinion. Also on a side note to obtain grades of A on performance you pretty much will have to enable Rocket Loader which will make your site faster but destroy many themes and plugins in WordPress. So it is a good concept but I don’t think it is for small to medium sites and especially WP driven sites.

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